Friday, August 31, 2012

Mall Evangelism: Tender, Young Hearts

It was a relatively quiet night at the mall. We attributed this to the fact that tonight was the start of Labor Day Weekend. Quiet as it was, the Lord still presented us with a number of wonderful evangelism opportunities, around our evangelism table.

The first two young men with whom I spoke (pictured below) were Mike (right) and Chandler (left). Mike attended a local church. Chandler had no church background.

Here is my conversation with the Mike (14) and Chandler (12).

The young lady standing to my left (pictured below) is Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn and her father, Joe. Joe and I were partners in the gang unit, before Kaitlyn was born. It was Joe and Kaitlyn's first time to join us for evangelism.

I saw a group of teens standing not too far off. I called Kaitlyn to join me to engage the group in conversation. There names were Ryan, Lizzy, Mariah, and Kennedy.

Here is my conversation with the group.

It was a great night of evangelism and fellowship at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ministry Update

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.
3 John 5-8

Today, I submitted my missionary proposal to the Elder Council of my church, for their review and consideration. My hope is that the elders will accept my proposal and commission me to serve the church as an evangelist and domestic missionary.

What I have proposed to the elders is that they provide ecclesiastic and spiritual oversight and accountability for the mission. Financial oversight and accountability will be provided by Bill Adams' organization, Revival USA. Revival USA will provide the mission with tax-exempt status, receipting to donors, basic bookkeeping, and annual tax preparation.

In the meantime, financial circumstances have led Mahria and I to seek local employment (of course, only part-time for me). I've had to swallow and repent a certain amount of pride, as Mahria has not had to work outside the home for over twenty-five years. So, you can pray for me as God continues to strip me of pride, during this season.

While we want to live by faith and not by sight, believing that God will one-day fully fund the mission, Mahria and I must also exercise wisdom and discernment regarding the care and support of not only ourselves, but our three adult daughters.

So, while we continue to wait on the Lord to see how He will provide for our family (and we know He will, because He always has), if the Lord places it on your heart to support us during this transition, we would be very grateful.

Thank you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Rejoice in the Sovereignty of God!

I am so thankful to my great God and Savior, my Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

I rejoice in the sovereignty of God. My salvation is contingent upon nothing within me or anything accomplished by me. Nothing. Not my desire; not my abilities; not my religion; not my lot in life; and most certainly not my own will.

Yes, I rejoice in the sovereignty of God. I am saved because God is sovereign. I am saved because God, from eternity-past, had predetermined and preordained to call me His own. Only the kind intention of His will, and not the gratuitous and selfish intentions of my sin-marred will, made it not only possible but also certain that He would adopt me as one of His beloved children.

Yes, I rejoice in the sovereignty of God. For apart from His sovereignty I could have no hope of forgiveness, reconciliation, and regeneration. If my will was necessary, even in the slightest cooperative sense, to somehow contribute to my salvation, I would never be saved. I could never be saved. For my will, deathly marred by my depravity, which I inherited from the first Adam, would never, could never seek or even desire to cooperate with God in anything--let alone my salvation.

Yes, I rejoice in the sovereignty of God. I am saved because God, for reasons known only to Him, has elected to pardon me from my iniquity--pardon me from an inherited, wanton rampage of sin that would seek to go as far as to murder the Judge as He sat on His bench, if I ever had the present ability to carry out the act. So deep was my hatred for God, although shrouded in false piety and self-perceived goodness. I deserve nothing but an undelayed, unappealable execution of God's good and holy wrath. Yet the Judge--the Judge of the Universe--stepped down from His high, holy, heavenly bench, sending His eternal Son who humbled Himself to take on the form of human flesh in the person of my Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth. He humbled Himself, allowing Himself to be executed by His sinful creation; and yes, to be mutilated and humiliated on the cross. Yes, even death on the cross.

Yes, I rejoice in the sovereignty of God. For had not the Father, by His own divine desire and decree, allowed His one and only Son to be so mistreated--so rejected by men, so hated that his appearance was marred beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind--there would be no hope for me. It pleased the Sovereign Creator to crush the very One who was with Him in creation and for whom all Creation was made. It pleased God the Father to make Him, God the Son, who knew no sin, to become sin on my behalf--by His will alone and for His glory alone. I could never hope to dress my self in the imputed righteousness of Christ--the sinless spotless robes of the Righteous Branch. If God, as a means of meting out His judicious wrath against my sin, left me in the putrefied garments of my sin, I would be eternally clothed in the ever-burning filth of my garments of fallen humanness. I would have no hope of every being grafted into the True Vine. I would be nothing more than a dried, lifeless twig to be throne into the fire and burned.

Yes, I rejoice in the sovereignty of God. For because of His sovereignty I have no fear of death, because He did clothe me in the righteousness of His Son. I have no fear of separation. I have no fear of losing that which was never mine to win, earn, deserve, or keep by my own will and tainted strength of character. I rejoice knowing that because of God's sovereignty my salvation is secure, kept and guarded in Heaven for me, by the one who made my calling and election sure--the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, my God, my King, my Savior, my Lord, my Deliverer, my Comforter, my Mediator, my Propitiation, my Justification, my Sanctification, my Glorification.....Jesus.

Yes, I rejoice in the sovereignty of God. For apart from His sovereignty, I could never rest. I could never have peace. I could never experience His love, grace, and mercy. I could never know Him, desire to be with Him, love Him. And I would never see Him, as He is now, face-to-face. But I will! I will one-day see Him face-to-face!

Yes, I rejoice in the sovereignty of God. Do you?

Special Discount on Tracts for Cross Encounter Radio Listeners

Here is an offer that One Million Tracts is offering on the tracts I wrote as well as any other item on their site.

10% off Your Purchase at One Million Tracts!

Receive 10% off your next purchase by using the code GTBT during the checkout process! This offer is good on the tracts I wrote as well! Hurry this offer is only available until Labor Day (9/3/12)

Go to, click the "store" button... AND SHOP!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cross Encounters Radio: Episode 0003

If you missed tonight's show, well, you missed a lot. But not to worry. You can listen now.

Listen to internet radio with Cross Encounters on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Strange and Unauthorized Fire: A Morning at the NoHo Metro Station

It was a event-filled couple of hours at the North Hollywood Metro Station this morning. I arrived at the station at 6:30 AM. As they are every day, the Russellites were already out in force. The station was very busy with morning commuters.

My first open-air for the morning, as part of my participation in Challenge 66 (a challenge to open-air preachers to preach sermons from all 66 books of the Bible), had for its text Leviticus 10:1-3. I used the story of Nadab and Abihu's false worship by way of strange and unauthorized fire to point out the false worship of world religions.

Here it is:

I could see that one of the security guards got on his phone the moment I started preaching. This has become commonplace. I was confident he was calling the police. Over the last few months, the security guards have taken an all-too-obvious shining to the Russellites at the station. The Russellites complain to the security guards about the content of my messages. I make it a point to warn the people at the station of the Russellites presence during my first open-air for the day.

The open-air went off without incident. When I finished, I started distributing some tracts to the commuters making their way to and from the metro station.

As I distributed tracts, I watched as an LAPD patrol car parked along the curb. Two officers exited the vehicle and were met guessed it...the security guard. They talked for a few moments. I was able to take the above photo as the officers made their way to where I was standing.

The male officer did all the talking. The female officer, the male officer's senior, looked like she was having a bad day.

I talked to the officers (pictured above, along with the security guard) for about four minutes. The result: the officers told me to be careful and went on their way.

Here's my conversation with the officers:

After my conversation, I was tempted to get back up and preach right away. But I opted to distribute tracts for a while. The reason I didn't preach right away is that I didn't want my motivation to be one of rubbing the security guards nose in the fact that the officers left me alone to preach.

When the time came that I felt I could preach with the right motives, I climbed atop my step stool. My text for the second open-air was Galatians 2:15-21. The theme for the open-air was justification by faith alone.

I met a couple of interesting characters during this open-air. One was a young man who claimed he was present at the birth of Jesus. That was a new one. The other person was a man named Alex. Like so many "cut and pasters," Alex claimed to know a thing or two about the Bible. When I challenged him with a very basic Bible quiz, he responded with ad hominems. The reason: Alex had no case. He had no argument. He had no strength of conviction.

Here's my second open-air:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Help Needed?

While I remain very confident the Lord will give me the desire of my heart and allow me to serve Him as a full-time open-air preacher/missionary and as a discipler of younger open-air preachers; my counselors have wisely suggested I consider a "Plan B," just in case the Lord's plans for me are not the same as my own.

With that in mind, does anyone know of a "sound" church that may be looking for an evangelism/outreach pastor--a church that understands and supports biblical evangelism--a church that sees the value of having an evangelist as part of their paid staff?

I would also be willing to serve as a college/young adults pastor, where I could not only teach Bible and invest in the lives of young people, but where I could also influence this present generation to fulfill the Great Commission.

If your church, or a solid church of which you are aware is looking for a man to fill one of these positions, please let me know.

Thank you.

Open-Air Quick Tip #10 - Open-Air Etiquette

Gospel Tracts: How Much is One Soul Worth to You? (Part 2)

Yesterday, I shared with you the email I received from a young lady who found a gospel tract during a local "Concert in the Park." I answered her questions in a reply email. This morning, I opened my email to find this"

Never heard this before. No, I had never repented of my sins, and placed my trust in Jesus alone. I didn't know I needed to, because I hadn't been taught that way. I thought salvation was through works. Thank you for explaining it to me!

I was on my way to Hell. Yes, I was trusting in my good works to save me, and the simple acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as God. I NEVER saw these Scriptures in the Bible, for all my years of reading them.

Trying to do good works, is like checking off a list...did I do enough today? You always feel like you can't do enough, and that would be right! You can't do enough "good" things!

Well, that changed this morning. I turned from my sin, and placed my trust in Jesus Christ alone! It makes total sense. I cried over my sin, and turned my back on my sin.

Wow, didn't even realize how much of a sinner I was..until today! Truth is, I see now that I was under bondage of my sin. I don't feel like that anymore. A weight has been lifted from my shoulders, that I didn't know I had!!!

Who'd of thought, that a crinkled up piece of paper that I almost threw away, because I thought it was trash....ended up being a tract, which led to your website...would end up with me TRULY being saved!!! Praise God. :) Keep passing out those tracts! And DON'T let anyone tell you it's NOT worth it. A crinkled piece of paper with a soul- saving message! You never know who might find one, and be led to the Truth. I'm Eternally grateful! Oh, I cry at the thought of it!!!

You seem familiar. Are you out and about alot handing out tracts? I think I've heard your name before.

God bless you. Now TRULY, your sister in Christ
Be encouraged, my Christian brethren! God is mighty to save! God is sovereign! And God uses gospel tracts to accomplish His loving work in people's lives!

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Video Series: Open-Air Quick Tips

For quite some time, I have wanted to do a series of short videos regarding open-air preaching. And for almost as long, people have been encouraging me to do so.

So, here it is: Open-Air Quick Tips #1-9.

Gospel Tracts: How Much is One Soul Worth to You?

”The smallest tract may be the stone in David’s sling.
In the hands of Christ it may bring down a giant soul.” ~R.M. M’Cheyne

I turned on my computer this morning and found the following email. I have redacted the person's name to protect their anonymity.
Hi my name is _____ _____. I am 22 years old. I live in Santa Clarita. I found one of your tracts that someone else had thrown on the ground, during the "Concert in the Park". I picked it up, read it, kept it for the past month, went to your website and I just read "Man's problem, God's solution." It makes me doubt what I believe. I do believe that God placed that tract there just for me.

I've attended church my whole life. I read my Bible every day, I pray, I attend church. I was baptized, and I've asked Jesus into my heart.I love the Lord very much. I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross, and rose from the grave. Hell exists and so does Heaven. I think God is loving, and I think he forgave us at the cross, when he said "It is finished".

All those who will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God, died on the cross for their sins and rose from the grave will go to Heaven, after this you have to continue to complete your salvation through good works..otherwise, salvation is not finished. Salvation is not complete until we get to heaven. God will then judge us, at the day of judgement, according to our intentions and look at how much we have done for Him. I would consider myself saved, a Born-again Christian.

With all that said, what I've read on your website is NOT the same as what I believe. I think I'm wrong. It saddens me that I might not be saved, according to what I've read. I think I've fashioned a Jesus according to what I want him to be like..not according to the Bible. I've never read, or heard exactly any of this.

I'm pretty sure that I'm wrong on everything. Would you point me to Scripture verses concerning this please? It'd be terrible to think you're going to heaven and then find out you're not, when you stand before God. I don't want that for myself, and I don't want that for anyone else that I come in contact with.

Thank you very much.
I immediately responded to this person with the following email:

Thank you for contacting me.

I apologize for any typos. I wrote this quickly, as soon as I saw your email.

I am so very glad that you found the gospel tract and read it. While there is no power in the tract, the gospel it contained is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). And, like you, I believe God ordained for you to find that gospel tract.

Based only on what you wrote, I believe I see the problem. You wrote: "All those who will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God, died on the cross for their sins and rose from the grave will go to Heaven, after this you have to continue to complete your salvation through good works..otherwise, salvation is not finished. Salvation is not complete until we get to heaven. God will then judge us, at the day of judgement, according to our intentions and look at how much we have done for Him. I would consider myself saved, a Born-again Christian."

Mere acknowledgement regarding the truths about Jesus Christ does not save anyone. "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder" (James 2:19)! The demons believe everything you believe about Jesus, but they will not go to Heaven simply because they have an intellectual understanding about who Jesus is and what He came to do. The Word of God makes it clear, ______, that salvation is a heart issue, not merely an issue of the mind (Romans 10:9-10).

You wrote: "After this you have to continue to complete your salvation through good works, otherwise, salvation is not finished." And herein lies the heart of the problem, ______. You have not trusted in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. The Bible says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is by the grace of God alone, through faith alone (Romans 1:17), in Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6). Your good works do not help you to be saved or keep you saved. Salvation is of the Lord and those whom He saves, He keeps (Romans 8:38-39).

It is true that faith without works is a dead faith (James 2:14-17). But many people and many false religions like Roman Catholicism, International Church of Christ, Mormonism, etc., misinterpret passages like this to mean that a person must do good works to earn and keep their salvation. But that is not what the passage means at all.

James is writing to people who are already saved--Christians. What he is telling them is that if a person claims to be saved, but there is no visible fruit (good works) in their lives, then they do not have a real faith in Jesus, but a dead faith. Let me explain it this way.

______, let's say we were neighbors. One day you knock on my door and say, "Tony, I'm going to mow your lawn so I can be your son." While it would be nice that you want to get me out of yard work, and nicer still that you want to be my son, mowing my lawn would never make you my son.

But what if you were my son and you came to me and said, "Dad, I'm going to mow the lawn--not because I want something from you; not because I've got some bad news to drop on you. I'm going to mow the lawn simply because I love you as my father, and I want to do something to show my love for you."

The second scenario makes sense. And this is the life of the true Christian. A true Christian wants to do good works, not because it earns or helps them keep their salvation. Rather, they want to do good works because they are so thankful for the salvation they freely received from God, through Jesus Christ.

Can you see the difference?

You wrote: "God will then judge us, at the day of judgement, according to our intentions and look at how much we have done for Him. I would consider myself saved, a Born-again Christian."

Yes, it is true that each person will die and stand before God to give an account for their lives (Matthew 12:36; Hebrews 9:27). And this is what God thinks of the intentions of our hearts. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it" (Jeremiah 17:9)? And this is what God thinks of our own perceived good works. "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (Isaiah 64:6).Our good works are nothing more than filthy, sin-stained rags in the eyes of the one and only holy God.

______, if you were to stand before a judge inside Valencia Superior Court (a place I spent many hours and days as a deputy sheriff) having been found guilty of breaking the law, and the judge asked you, "______, what do you have to say for yourself;" do you think the judge would let you go if you said this? "Your honor, I know I'm guilty of breaking the law. But I've helped to little old ladies across the street; I've started giving to the poor; I'm going to church, now; and I washed the windows of your Mercedes on my way into court, today. So, because I've done these good things I no longer think I'm guilty, and I think you should just let me go."

______, is a good judge going to let you go? No. Of course not. The judge is going to sentence you, not for the good things you think you have done; but for the crime you committed. Your good works won't help you. They won't get you out of trouble. On the Day of Judgment, God will see your good works as nothing more than an attempt to bribe Him.

Look carefully at what the Bible says.

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7).

Do you see what it says? "He saved us, not because of works done BY US in righteousness, but according to HIS own mercy..."

Your good deeds cannot save you, help you to be saved, or help you to stay saved. Salvation is ENTIRELY a work of God. And those whom He saves, He keeps. Look at what the Bible says...

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” ~ John 6:35-40

But ______, you must come to Jesus Christ on His terms. Jesus made it clear that salvation, which is a gift from God (Romans 6:23), comes through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. See what the Bible says:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Repentance, which itself is a gift from God (Romans 2:4), is not merely a changing of one's mind about their life and about Jesus. Repentance is a change of direction. It quite literally is a 180-degree turn from loving sin and a coming to Jesus on our own terms, to loving Christ and coming to Him on HIS terms.

______, have you ever truly turned from your sin and, by faith and by faith alone (not trusting in anything of or in yourself; but trusting ONLY in Jesus), received Jesus as your Lord and Savior? While it sounds like you have made an intellectual decision to believe in Jesus, it does not appear (based only on the limited information I have) that you have truly repented of your sin and placed your faith in Jesus Christ ALONE for your salvation. It appears you have trusted in Jesus AND your own ability to earn God's love, forgiveness, and salvation.

______, salvation is not Jesus + ______'s good works; Jesus + ______'s church attendance; Jesus + ______'s baptism; Jesus + anything else. Salvation is by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. There is NOTHING you can do or ever will do to earn God's love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and salvation. It is a FREE gift.

So, ______, my encouragement to and prayer for you is that you will truly believe the gospel. Turn from your sin and, by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. There is no magic formula. Praying a prayer won't save you. Walking down an aisle during an altar call won't save you. Going to church and reading your Bible won't save you. Being baptized won't save you. Trying to be a good person won't save you; because, like the rest of us, ______, you have sinned against God and broken His Law. Like the rest of us, you are not good in God's eyes.

No. The only thing, the only ONE who can save you is Jesus Christ the Lord. So cry out to Him. Repent. And receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

I look forward to hearing from you again, ______. Until then, you are in my prayers.

To My Christian Brethren:

How much is one soul worth to you?

Do you see gospel tracts as irrelevant, passe, even corny. Have you been led to believe this lie by a well-intentioned Christian pastor, leader, or friend?

How much is one soul worth to you?

Over the last seven years, I have distributed tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of gospel tracts. I have seen very little return on my investment. But, as this email clearly shows, that does not mean there is no return on the investment. As with open-air preaching, the spiritual and eternal return on the investment of time, resources, energy, and heart, as it relates to the distribution of gospel tracts, will never be fully realized this side of Heaven.

To receive an email like the one I received this morning should be an encouragement to everyone who distributes gospel tracts; and a wake-up call to those who don't, or who even go as far as to discourage it. The gospel IS the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). Our obligation is to simply love God and people (Matthew 22:36-40) enough to engage in the work of preaching and distributing the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 14:23; Acts 1:8); for the gospel is a spoken/written message (Romans 10:14-17).

How much is one soul worth to you?

To my Christian brethren who see the value in distributing gospel tracts: don't quit! Keep distributing gospel tracts, for the glory of God, for the furtherance of the gospel, and for the love of the lost!

Don't let anyone (pastors, teachers, friends, etc.) discourage you from distributing gospel tracts. The gospel IS the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), whether in spoken or in written form. The gospel does not need our help. It need only be communicated to the lost.

How much is one soul worth to you?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cross Encounters Radio's New Logo!

My appreciation and thanks to Brad Snow and Elijah Hankins for their cooperative effort in creating the official logo for Cross Encounters Radio.

Stop Worrying About the Size of the Crowd

The first time I open-air preached (pictured above), I began by using trivia and the offer of dollar bills for right answers as a means of drawing a crowd. I learned this, as I have learned so many other things in ministry and in life, from my good friend and one of my mentors, Ray Comfort. I continued to use various means to draw a crowd for years to come; and I have taught literally hundreds of people to do the same.

No one, and I mean no one, is better at drawing a crowd than Ray Comfort. And those of us who have tried to duplicate this ability do so in vain. Ray just has that "something." Whether it's his whimsical demeanor, New Zealand accent, or the uncanny ability to get away with saying things that would get another preacher punched in the mouth, or a combination of all of these traits and more, Ray can draw a crowd anywhere, any place, anytime. Not only can he draw a crowd, but he can hold a crowd. Like a conductor of a symphony, or a Grand Master chess player, Ray moves people like a conductor moves an orchestra to play as he wishes--like a master tactician moves pieces on a board, thinking several moves ahead.

I am very grateful to Ray Comfort for the many things he has taught me, including how to draw a crowd.

Over the years, however, I have seen a downside to crowd-drawing efforts, particularly among the less-experienced preachers in the biblical evangelism community. Unfortunately, there are some within the biblical evangelism community who see crowd-drawing efforts as a necessity, and not as they should be seen--an option.

Again, I am not opposed to using pragmatic means in order to draw a crowd. And again, I did it for a number of years. But I no longer try to draw crowds. Instead of drawing crowds artificially, I simply read the Word of God and/or preach the law and the gospel, and allow crowds to form organically, if they form at all.

It is important to remember and keep in mind that ultimately the biblical evangelist preaches to an audience of ONE--the Lord Jesus Christ. The first aspect of the call of an open-air preacher is to love the Lord his God with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength. Open-air preaching is first and foremost an act of worship. Second: it is an act of obedience. And third: it is an act of love both to Christ and to all who may hear (thus, loving your neighbor as yourself).

Is not God sovereign over the public reading of His Word? Is God not sovereign over the public declaration of His law and gospel? Of course He is!

God does not need our help. God needs nothing from us. What He wants from us He commands. And He has commanded us to go and herald the gospel to every creature (Acts 1:8) and to make disciples of people from every nation (Matthew 28:18-20). The gospel of Jesus Christ does not need our help. It only needs to be proclaimed--obediently, lovingly, truthfully, urgently, and passionately.

To assert that one must use man-derived, man-initiated, man-executed means to draw a crowd is to assert, on some level, that the Word of God and the preaching of the gospel somehow lacks the power to do so. While no godly open-air preacher, even those who use artificial means to draw a crowd, would ever suggest God and His gospel lack power to do anything; they are, in a pragmatic sense, suggesting that very idea by insisting upon the necessity of artificial, crowd-drawing tactics in order to be an effective open-air preacher.

Certainly, any honest open-air preacher wants to preach to large crowds--not to build their own notoriety, but for the glory of Christ and for the furtherance of His Gospel. However, what we want as open-air preachers is secondary, if not irrelevant, to what God has commanded.

Any and all crowd-drawing tactics, while not unbiblical, are, at the very least extra-biblical, which means the Word of God neither commands nor condemns the activity. So, for anyone to assert such tactics are necessary is to give the traditions of men an almost Vatican-esque authority, thus challenging the authority of what the Word of God actually says. Again, let me be clear. I do not believe any godly open-air preacher thinks this way. But the suggestion of necessity in doing things not prescribed in Scripture is, in a pragmatic sense, giving too much credence to the traditions of men.

I've watched with a troubled soul as new open-air preachers have tried in vain to draw a crowd. I've watched them try to draw a crowd in situations and circumstances that would give even Ray Comfort's crowd-drawing abilities a run for their money. I've watched (and it was painful to watch) as budding open-air preachers bow their heads in defeat, holding dollar bills in one hand and a list of trivia questions in the other. And I know what they were thinking.

I can't do this. I'm no good at this. This is embarrassing. Why did I ever let myself get talked into standing on this box?

In times such as the one I've just described, my response to the deflated rookie open-air preacher is always the same. I get their attention. I look them square in the eye. And I utter two simple words.

Just preach!

The gospel is the power of God for salvation; not our ability to draw and keep a crowd.

The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword; not the sharpness of our wit or our ability to capture someone's attention.

Some will quickly retort with: "But what good is it to preach the Gospel, if there is no one in front of you to listen?"

My answer is simple. God is sovereign over this, too. Everyone God wants to hear the open-air proclamation of His gospel, on any given day and in any given situation, will most certainly hear the gospel. Whether it is one person hiding in the shadows and outside the preacher's field of view, or a crowd of hundreds ready to pull the preacher down off his box, God has preordained from eternity past who will hear the gospel on any given day and who will respond with repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is sovereign!

So, if you are like me and do not see the need to use artificial means to draw a crowd; if you are like me and you simply want to stand atop a box, read the Word of God, and preach; do not allow the opinions of men leave you feeling in any way inadequate. Remember, the enemy used Job's friends to discourage him. The enemy would love to destroy your open-air ministry by either leaving you so discouraged you stop preaching, or by convincing you to be someone you're not in order to have you walk lock-step with other open-air preachers, with whom you tactically disagree.

If you are trying to be the next Ray Comfort, knock it off. There is and there will only be one Ray Comfort. And I thank God for how He has used Ray to quite literally bring about a revolution of open-air preaching. Don't try to be Ray. Don't try to be Tony. Don't try to be your team leader or your ministry partner. Be yourself and follow the convictions the Lord has laid on your heart, whether or not that means using or not using artificial means for drawing a crowd.

Be the man of God He has created you to be. Be the preacher He has designed you to be. Follow the conscience God has given you with complete confidence--not in yourself, but in the sovereign God who called you. Preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ as the Lord has called you to preach it. Worry not about drawing crowds. Think only of glorifying Christ and heralding His gospel.

And it would be good to remember this. The gospel of Jesus Christ is both good news and bad news. It is both a blessing and a curse. It is an aroma of life to those whom God will save and it is an aroma of death to those whom will perish in their sins. You do not know for whom it will mean life or death. You have no idea who has been set apart as one of God's elect. So, you must preach to all with the boldness of a lion, the gentleness of a dove, and the love of a bridegroom. And you must preach with a sense of urgency--fully expecting the Lord to redeem the last soul to be redeemed while you are standing on the box.

I never worry about the size of the crowd. I no longer try to use artificial means to draw a crowd. I simply read the Word and herald His gospel. I trust His sovereign grace, and not my own ability, to see to it that those whom He has given ears to hear will hear the preaching of His glorious gospel. I trust His sovereign will to draw those to Himself (John 6:44) whom He has appointed (Acts 13:48) to be part of His elect (Matthew 24:22; Matthew 24:31; Romans 8:33; Romans 11:7; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1) and beloved children (Romans 8:16-21; Ephesians 5:1; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:10).

Worry less about your ability to draw a crowd, and concern yourself more with the doctrinal precision of the content of your messages.

Worry less about your ability to hold a crowd, and concern yourself more with the amount of time you spend lifting, exalting, heralding, and declaring the name that is above every name (Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9)--the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Worry less about keeping pace with other open-air preachers. Worry less about pleasing men, and concern yourself more with glorifying God, through your preaching.

Worry less about the size of the crowd, and concern yourself more with the size of your heart for Christ and for the lost.

I have a great deal of respect for the person who is able to draw large crowds for the purpose of preaching the authentic gospel. But I have just as much respect for the person who stands at the corner, day in and day out, heralding the gospel to just a few; for the person who consistently stands atop a box to herald the gospel when it seems that no one is listening; for the person who sees his Bible as his preferred prop and is not afraid to open it and read it to whoever may hear.

Stop worrying about the size of the crowd.

Just preach. Just preach. Just preach!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Special Announcement: Partnering with

I am now partnering exclusively with Marv Plementosh of to publish the gospel tracts I write.

Two new tracts are already available on the Here they are!


Before becoming the United States’ most beloved president, Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer. He was known for his great pearls of wisdom, like the one on the front of this card. “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” The same is true for anyone who thinks they will stand before God, serve as their own attorney, and argue their innocence and goodness. They will have a fool for a client. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Consider the evidence against you. If you have ever lied, stolen, taken God’s name in vain, harbored hatred or lust in your heart; God sees you as one who has broken His Law and sinned against Him. Finding you guilty, He will do what any good judge would do. In your case, the punishment will be eternity in Hell. “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17). God has provided only one way for you to receive a pardon from the Judge and the gift of eternal life in Heaven, with Him. God sent His Son to earth in the person of Jesus Christ—fully God and fully Man, who knew no sin. He voluntarily went to the cross where He shed His innocent blood and died, taking upon Himself the punishment you deserve for your crimes against God. Three days later, He defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave. What God commands you to do is repent (turn from your sin and turn to God) and, by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Don’t be a foolish client.


Were you able to find the mistake on the board? The word “mistake” is misspelled. We often fail to see what is right in front of us. The Bible tells us as much. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20). When you die and stand before God, you will give an account for your life. If you’ve ever lied, stolen, taken God’s name in vain, or harbored hatred or lust in your heart, God will see you as one who has broken His Law and sinned against Him. You will be without excuse. God’s punishment for sin is eternity in Hell. God has provided only one way for you to receive forgiveness of your sins and the joy of eternal life in Heaven, where you will see Him face to face. God sent His Son to earth in the person of Jesus Christ—fully God and fully Man, who knew no sin. He voluntarily went to the cross where He shed His innocent blood and died, taking upon Himself the punishment you deserve. Three days later, He defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave. What God commands you to do is repent (turn from your sin and turn to God) and, by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. See God for who He is. See your sin for what it is. Repent and believe and see the salvation of the Lord.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cross Encounters Radio: What People Are Saying

Last night was the premiere of Cross Encounters Radio.

For whatever reason, the Lord keeps me engaged in this medium of communication--radio.

During this run, I am blessed to have as my partner Chris Hohnholz, from Fernley, Nevada. Don't let the goofy look on his face fool you. In addition to enjoying clowning around, Chris is a graduate of the Ambassadors' Academy, a "Crosswalker," and a herald of the gospel in his community. Most importantly, Chris is a good friend.

Cross Encounters Radio will air every Sunday evening, 6-8 PM (PST). The show will focus on the glorification of Christ and the proclamation of His gospel. We will tackle current events and ongoing social issues through the lens of a Christian worldview. We will have guests on the program: authors, bloggers, apologists, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and whoever else we think would help Christians to grow in their love for Christ and the knowledge of His Word.

We won't shy away from hot-button topics, whether they are social or theological. And false teachers will not find our program a safe place to hide. We won't allow any elephants in the room.

Here's what people are saying about last night's show:

"It was a great show, Tony! Thanks for putting it together. Loved hearing y'all preach and the interactions you had over there. Such love, conviction, and genuine caring you & Bobby showed the world. Praise God!" ~ Dave

"Listened to the second part of the open air on the show, EXCELLENT! Excited about tuning in regularly." ~ Apryl

"First thing when I got home from church, I got my work out and listened while I worked. Great first show!" ~ Brad

"WOW! Praise God! Very encouraging program. I loved the open-air sessions. Can't wait til next program!" ~ Jamie

"Great programme. Enjoying listening to the recorded programme this morning. Your assesment of the uk is spot on . . . Thank you Tony for your continual encouragement Brother." ~ David

"Good show. I like that you're so up front in what you believe and what you stand for. Shamefully unashamed of the Gospel of God, nice! I will listen again." ~ Kyle

If you missed last night's show, no worries. You can listen, here.

Listen to internet radio with Cross Encounters on Blog Talk Radio

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mission Olympic Games: Video Journal (Day 11)

I want to encourage you to listen to Dr. Peter Masters' sermon from yesterday morning, "Signs of the Spiritual Life."

Listen Here